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HUD Settlement Creates Housing Opportunities for People with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it has entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Englewood Housing Authority (EHA) in Englewood, Colorado. The settlement resolves allegations that EHA violated the Fair Housing Act when it implemented a point system at Orchard Place Apartments.

The point system "effectively denied housing to applicants with disabilities unless they were elderly," HUD said in a release.

The agreement is a result of a HUD review that found EHA imposed a preference point system which excluded families with disabilities who were not elderly, even though the complex was designated as a "mixed population development" serving seniors over age 62 and individuals with disabilities on an equal basis.

HUD said, "Specifically, HUD found that the housing authority assigned qualified elderly families with disabilities 100 preference points, while equally qualified non-elderly families with disabilities were assigned 80 points. HUD further determined that the housing authority, in July 2011, implemented a similar point system that gave elderly families with disabilities 20 points; elderly families 10 points; and non-elderly families with disabilities 10 points."

The effect, according to the government agency, was that both systems placed applicant families with elderly disabled members on the waiting list in front of families with non-elderly disabled members who had applied years earlier.

Under the terms of the agreement, the EHA will eliminate the point system, and reorder its waiting list based on a first-come, first-served basis. Furthermore, the EHA agreed to outreach activities for underserved populations, comply with HUD oversight, and provide fair housing training for its employees.

"Federal law requires that properties designated as mixed housing serve individuals with disabilities equally, regardless of age," said Dave Ziaya, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This agreement will help ensure that persons with disabilities will have access to housing opportunities at Englewood."

About Author: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

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